Don’t Be Afraid to Use Your Influence!

Goal Setting in the New Year

Oxford Languages defines influence as “the capacity to have an effect on the character, development or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.” But, it’s hard to know how to influence people or decisions if you aren’t in the rooms where these things are happening.  However, as leaders, we can create influence, regardless of where we sit!

You can create influence just as easily by encouraging and supporting others, and going above and beyond- especially as organizations get “flatter”.

If you truly want to become a more influential “leader”, here are some tips I’ve found that can help get you invited into those rooms:

Lead from where you are.  I believe that leaders are made and that being the case, a leader can influence from wherever they sit! You may not have any direct reports or a long tenue with an organization, but that doesn’t mean you can influence outcomes. You can create opportunities for yourself and others, just by observing and volunteering where your knowledge or expertise.
Offer helpful Solutions. Be the person that brings solutions, rather than problems.  Often, others are too close to a problem to see an obvious solution. If you see a more efficient way to get something done, or you have an idea for a better way to solve a problem, don’t be shy- speak up!
Always Be Building your Network. You know the old saying, it’s not necessarily what you know, but who you know?  When trying to increase your influence, it’s critical that you build relationships with others throughout the organization – in other departments and in different functions. Be that individual who volunteers to help others.You never know when the opportunity may arise to ask for their help in return.
Think “Big”.  Share ideas that you have, not only for your own role, but for other areas of the organization. Your job in your organization is more than your title.  Look for ways to learn as much as you can about the organization you are working for, even if it appears to have nothing to do with your current position.  Stay attuned to what your company is doing- what acquisitions it might be making, what divisions are growing and any special task forces that might be forming.It help to be “in the know” when you are trying to increase your influence!

Invest in Other’s Success. Do something for someone else for no other reason that you see something in them that they may not see.  Encourage those around you. Help them expend their own networks. The more you invest in people and look for opportunities to lift them up, the more others will see you as a leader with influence!

And, it wouldn’t hurt to work on the following:

  • Listening without interruption
  • Doing what you say you’ll do
  • Staying focused on what matters
  • Acting with Integrity and Character

Regardless of whether you are a manager or individual contributor, being aware of the opportunities to influence and connect with others, will not only help you increase you potential for success in your current role, but in future roles, as well.

If you’d like more information on improving your ability to Influence or other leadership topics, visit The Center for Leadership Excellence at or contact Patty Prosser, Coaching Practice Leader, at or 317-727-6464.

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